Monday lazyblogging

In which I piggyback on the brilliance of others.

The first post in this series was written over two years ago, but I just found it, so as NBC used to say, it’s new to me: The AmbivAbortion Rant (part 1, part 2, and part 3).

Amba writes about the humanity of the unborn, the humanity of women, the precariousness of women’s lives, and her own abortion in powerful, passionate language. She’s pro-choice, but reluctantly so, and believes that the culture must change to acknowledge what’s at stake in every abortion — the death of an individual human being. I’ve seen the ideas she discusses here before, but I have rarely seen them expressed with such grace. Some passages will be uncomfortable for pro-lifers, others for pro-choicers, and that’s good. Whatever conclusion you ultimately reach, I think that if you haven’t grappled with the issues Amba raises, you haven’t thought your position through as fully as you could.

Just a bit more recently, Fred at Slacktivist compared U.S. society’s acceptance of prison rape with the despicable practice of “extraordinary rendition”.

One thing that both posts have in common is the idea that we should avoid violent acts not only because they harm their victims, but also because they degrade those who engage in or tolerate them.

Amba writes:

In a way I think we do more harm to ourselves, and to the fabric of reality, than we do to the individual who will never be. How desensitized do we have to be to destroy this astounding, tiny thing, a complete human being rapidly spinning itself out of next to nothing? If you’re not ready to keel over in awe of that, for Godsake get yourself a shot of Depo-Provera.

Accepting abortion as no big deal requires regressing rather than advancing in our higher qualities, awareness and gratitude. It is definitely a part of the Darwinist culture that takes pride in our being nothing more than fancy animals driven by brute self-interest.

Fred, meanwhile, quotes Hilzoy:

But sympathy is not our only reason for not torturing and raping people. There’s also self-respect: the thought that whatever someone else might choose to be like, and even if that person has chosen to be Jeffrey Dahmer, there are certain things that I will not choose to do, because I do not want to be the sort of person who does them.

So, great posts. Go read ’em.

Concerned TV Networks for America

Even Fox feels the need to pander to the 10% or so of the population who oppose birth control. I told you their influence was all out of proportion to their actual numbers!

Trojan recently tried to place an ad for its condoms on the four major networks. ABC and NBC accepted the ad, but Fox and CBS rejected it. Fox’s response was particularly telling:

Fox and CBS both rejected the commercial. Both had accepted Trojan’s previous campaign, which urged condom use because of the possibility that a partner might be H.I.V.-positive, perhaps unknowingly. A 2001 report about condom advertising by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation found that, “Some networks draw a strong line between messages about disease prevention — which may be allowed — and those about pregnancy prevention, which may be considered controversial for religious and moral reasons.”

Representatives for both Fox and CBS confirmed that they had refused the ads, but declined to comment further.

In a written response to Trojan, though, Fox said that it had rejected the spot because, “Contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy.”

So the networks either don’t think they’ll get flak, or they’re willing to take it, for promoting condom use to prevent disease. But not to prevent pregnancy. Hmm. What could account for the difference?

“There’s a utopian view that women ought to be able to have sex any time they want to without consequences” [emphasis added]

— Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America, explaining her groups’s opposition to legislation that would promote contraception and comprehensive sex ed

Oh yeah.

Oh, HELL no.

From Frederick Clarkson comes word of Paul Hill Days:

Planned events include:

  • Activities at our two remaining killing centers
  • Literature distribution
  • Ministry at the Federal Courthouse
  • Reenactment of 7-29-1994
  • Paul Hill March
  • Ministry at other public forums
  • This needs to be protested. Vigorously. By pro-lifers.

    EDIT: I realized not everyone necessarily knows who Paul Hill was. On July 29, 1994, he shot and killed two people, and wounded another, at an abortion clinic in Pensacola, Florida.

    This rally in Milwaukee is cheerleading for murder.

    Women for Women International

    Following up on the previous post: Women for Women International responded to my query.

    Dear Jen,

    Thank you for your email and interest in our organization. Women for Women International does not advocate for or against abortion. During our rights awareness training session on women’s reproductive health, we focus on educating women about standard health practices for themselves and their children. We discuss prenatal care, infant and child care, nutrition during pregnancy, natural family planning methods and other topics designed to reduce the maternal and infant mortality rates in the communities where we work. I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us.

    I’m very glad to hear that. WWI seems like a great organization. Their stated purpose is “Supporting women in war-torn regions with financial and emotional aid, job-skills training, rights education and small business assistance so they can rebuild their lives.” You can become a “sister” and sponsor another woman, or just donate to WWI, who will use the funds for their educational programs and administrative costs. There are also other, non-monetary ways to get involved.

    They are highly rated by Charity Navigator and the American Institute of Philanthropy.

    For those of you leaving Amnesty

    Marysia asked for links to human rights organizations people can support if they feel compelled to leave Amnesty International due to Amnesty’s new abortion policy. I commented over there, but thought I would post them here as well.

    Consistent Life are suggesting the following:

    Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC)

    National Religious Campaign Against Torture

    Human Rights First

    Friends Committee on National Legislation

    I sent a donation to FCNL, with a note explaining that I was coming over from Amnesty and why. I also let AI know that I would be supporting other organizations and why.

    Additionally, I have been looking into Women for Women International, for people who want to offer women in war zones such as Darfur life-affirming, nonviolent assistance.* I don’t think that WWI is involved with abortion advocacy, but I have written to them for a clarification.

    * I was particularly infuriated this week by the Amnesty spokesperson who cited a World Health Organization estimate that 68,000 women die annually as a result of abortions, and said, “Once we looked at that figure, neutrality would have meant essentially saying it’s okay that 68,000 women a year die because of criminalization of abortion.” That is a monstrous claim, and the exact equivalent of warmongers accusing those of us who opposed the Iraq invasion of saying it was okay for Saddam Hussein to murder his own people.

    “The poor cry out for justice and equality…”

    “…and we respond with legalized abortion.”

    Graciela Olivarez, separate statement to the Rockefeller Commission on Population Growth And The American Future, 1972. (Some things never change. Unfortunately.)

    I was working on a post about this, then JivinJehosaphat went and beat me to it: Katha Pollitt’s first blog post is soliciting funds for a pregnant Tennessee woman.

    She’s a single mom with a 19 month old; co-conceiver skipped town; no child support because that dude skipped town; she is clinically very depressed and extremely desperate.

    Naturally, the funds are being collected not for legal aid or mental health care, but for an abortion. To Jivin J’s points, I would add this: although there is much debate over the exact incidence of post-abortion emotional health sequelae, one thing on which virtually everyone agrees is that certain factors make it more likely that a woman will have problems. Those factors include pre-existing mental health issues, and feeling pressured into having an abortion. So, not only is this woman impoverished, abandoned, and depressed; but the abortion that Pollitt and her readers are buying her will leave her impoverished, abandoned, depressed, and at risk for further mental health problems.

    But hey, at least she won’t have her son or daughter.

    I’ve said it before — the reason we still have abortion is not because our society isn’t conservative enough. It’s because we’re not progressive enough. Not progressive enough to ensure social and economic justice, especially for women. Not progressive enough to embrace all human beings as members of the human family for whom we are responsible. And not progressive enough to renounce violence as a means of solving problems.

    Duck and cover! It’s the Feingold-Reid Amendment!

    When it comes to war, torture, abortion, embryonic stem cell research, and other matters of life and death and human dignity, the dominant U.S. media can be counted upon to portray those advocating for the violent option as serious, realistic, and willing to make the hard decisions. Meanwhile, their opponents who favor nonviolent (or even just less violent) solutions are extreme, out of touch with the mainstream, and unwilling to face the facts.

    Case in point: David Broder’s latest column, “Candidates Lacking A Real-World Clue”.

    After praising both parties for having an abundance of appealing presidential candidates — an assessment with which I would take issue for a variety of reasons, but nevermind that now — Broder cautions:

    But the dynamic on both sides is trending toward extreme positions that would open the door to an independent or third-party challenge in 2008 aimed at the millions of voters in the center.

    The danger may be greatest for the Democrats, even though President Bush’s failings have put them in a favored position to win the next election. Prodded by four long shots for the nomination and threatened by the rhetoric of former senator John Edwards, a serious contender, the two front-runners, Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, have abandoned their cautious advocacy of a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces and now are defending votes to cut off support for troops fighting insurgents in Iraq. [emphasis added]

    Those Democrats are crazy! They’re for Congress using its Constitutional power over appropriations to end a war the American public has turned against — and they’d only give us ten months to safely withdraw our troops! (Why, that’s not even two whole Friedmans!) I’ve never heard of anything so extreme!

    And what are the Republicans advocating? You know, the ones who aren’t as extreme as the Democrats?

    Meantime, they see nothing wrong with raising the possibility of using a nuclear weapon — for the first time in more than six decades — as a bargaining tool in dealing with the ticklish situation in Iran.

    It’s nice, I guess, that nukes still make David Broder a little uneasy. But anyone who finds nuclear threats less disturbing than ending a failed war doesn’t get to lecture anyone else about “lacking a real-world clue”.

    Welcome to the blogosphere!

    I’m very excited to see that Marysia has started the Nonviolent Choice Blog. She will be posting on pro-life feminism, a subject which she has studied extensively.

    Marysia is also developing the Nonviolent Choice Directory, with the aim of providing “wide spectrum of resources necessary to alleviate the root causes of abortion–from comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education to support for the women and children of crisis pregnancies before, during, and ever after birth, at all levels of society from the individual to the global.” This is an ambitious project, but one that is sorely needed. I encourage everyone to visit and give her feedback.

    That’s Ms. Fetus to you

    I wonder how many of the people who argue that “I decide whether the fetus living in my body is a person or not” go by “Ms.” instead of “Miss” or “Mrs.”. It seems a bit of a contradiction to me — if you want to be considered as a person in your own right and not defined by your relationship to another, you should extend that courtesy to others.

    (I’ve gone by “Ms.” my entire adult life, despite once having been informed by some pro-choice group or another that signing letters to Congresscritters with “Ms.” was code that you were part of their pro-choice constituency.)

    I also wonder how many tout themselves as members of the “reality-based community”. You know, as opposed to those who “create our own reality.”

    Just curious…

    There aren’t two sides to every fact

    I was bothered by an item run by LifeNews last week, titled “New Study Finds Morning After Pill Can Work as an Abortion Drug”.

    First of all, that’s not quite what the study says, but I’ll let you read the abstract yourself. What really got up my nose was this line:

    Abortion advocates have claimed the drug only prevents conception but the study appears to contradict that claim.

    Because it’s not just abortion advocates making that claim. It’s researchers and those who have read the research and found it convincing, including some pro-lifers. Including myself.

    Yes, I realize that research is sometimes tainted by ideological bias. But there’s no such thing as “pro-life science” or “pro-abortion science”. Just because abortion advocates publicize or even conduct a study doesn’t make it wrong, and doesn’t mean we have to line up and deny the findings.